Roger Hughes of the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office attended a recent County Commission meeting to present the Commission with a check from unclaimed property. One of Hughes’ many responsibilities is to research unclaimed property in the state of West Virginia. In doing so, he located $162,288 from the Public Service Districts.
“I’m always finding something like this,” Hughes said. “It’s just a matter of normal business that money is going to not get to you for some reason. This is a fine example of why we have the Unclaimed Property Act in the law.”
“You’ve got the best job in the state,” Commissioner Mitch Morrison joked.
“My God has taken me to people with this so many times I can’t remember,” Hughes said, “To where I was there exactly where they tell me I needed to be.”
Hughes said he was saved in his early twenties and he has learned to listen to the voice of God when He speaks, and says It’s never been wrong, “ever.”
“I have taken large sums of money to many, many widows, and it makes me feel good,” Hughes said.
By May of this year, Hughes said he had located almost a million dollars in unclaimed funds for people. In a typical year he said he usually locates a million and a half to two million dollars in funds that have been sitting unclaimed.
Forgotten safety deposit boxes are another of the items that Hughes locates and returns the contents of to people. He said he always enjoys being able to locate money or sentimental items for people. Hughes said he’s received many hand shakes and tears from people whom he has located things for, some not even realizing they had unclaimed funds or personal belongings. Sometimes the unclaimed items are from the estate of a relative who has passed or money that just never made it to where it was intended to go, Hughes said.
Hughes credits City Mayors and County Commissioners with helping him locate people who have unclaimed property. He said he has worked with Ripley’s Mayor Carolyn Rader and others that have been essential in helping him find people, and returning to them what is rightfully theirs.
Hughes provided the County Commission with a multi-page list of people with unclaimed funds, and asked them to assist him in locating the owners. The County Commission agreed to assist him in his efforts.
In regards to the money that Hughes returned to the County Commission, David Riffle, a member of the public in attendance, requested that the funds be used only for the Public Service Districts, noting specifically the Cottageville PSD in Millwood.
Commissioner Dick Waybright stated that he would take Riffle’s request into consideration; however, the Commission would need to research the funds to see where the original funds were intended to be used.
“We’ll take that request into consideration,” Waybright said. “First we have to trace back to see where this money was originally applied for. Usually when we get money like that it goes to a project some place in the county.”
Waybright said that the responsibility of the Commission is to make sure they get the money to the place it was intended to go.
In other business:
• Commission approved the exonerations as submitted by Assessor Brian Thomas, as well as the regular fiduciary paperwork.
• The 911 resolution proclaiming 911 dispatchers as true “First Responders,” was approved by the Commission.
• Also approved was a proposal from PASS Fire Protection, Inc. in the amount of $4,600 for upgrades to the Courthouse, Keller Building, and Ravenswood EMS Station in order to bring them up to code.
• The Commission appointed Commissioner Mike Randolph, OES Director Walt Smittle, EMS Director Troy Bain, Todd Wines, Lori Pierson, and Charles Osborne to serve an additional term on the LEPC Board.
• Ross Mellinger was appointed by the Commission to replace Sheriff Tony Boggs on the LEPC Board.
• Tim Bailey was appointed to serve an additional term on the Southern Jackson PSD.
• Discussions were held on the Sandyville Broadband Bid.
The next regular session County Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 9:30 a.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse.